ISLAMABAD – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has today launched a major airlift, using helicopters to boost its ongoing relief operation and bring desperately needed food to people cut off by the devastating floods in northern Pakistan.
The Pakistan government has offered WFP the use of six helicopters to transport food to tens of thousands of hungry and desperate people in isolated communities across the Swat Valley.
A WFP team has been in the Swat Valley identifying safe locations for the helicopters to land. WFP and its international and national NGO partners will carry out distributions of ready-to-eat foods for infants and young children, high energy biscuits and wheat flour, to WFP-identified beneficiaries.
The first three missions to the town of Kalam took place on Thursday morning, carrying a total of 7 metric tons of food – sufficient to feed 2,500 people for one week.
“In this scene of devastation, with roads cut and bridges washed away, these helicopters are literally life-savers as they are the only way to get vital food supplies to many thousands of hungry and desperate people,” said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran.
WFP began food distributions on Sunday in the worst-affected areas of Peshawar, Mardan, Charsadda and Nowshera and by Wednesday evening had provided rations for nearly 155,000 people.
WFP is currently conducting food needs assessments in five of the worst-hit areas, and will move into additional areas as they become accessible. First indications are that around 1.8 million people across the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province are in need of food assistance.
For Further Information:
Abeer Etefa, WFP/Cairo, Tel. +2 02 25281730 ext. 2600, Mob. +2 016 663 4352
Dena Gudaitis, WFP/New York, Tel. +1 6465566914 Mob. +1 9173402588